What Does God Want From Us?
What does God want from you and me? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Do you know the answer? Is your answer biblical?
I grew up in a Christian home, became a Christ follower at an early age, have been consistently active in a local church, and even earned two seminary degrees. But I confess that my answer to the question “What does God want from me?” can get long and somewhat unbiblical. My list is often legalistic and more about pleasing others and less about pleasing God
After years of stumbling under the weight of all the unrealistic, ungodly expectations I finally confessed my weariness and failure to Him. That’s when He began to show me what He wanted most from me.
What Does God Want From You?
More than anything God wants you to know Him. “So that they will know that I am the Lord” is a phrase repeated over and again in the Bible. It’s used over sixty times in Ezekiel alone!
We repeat what’s important, right? We repeat in order to emphasize instructions, gratitude, and warnings.
I think we can conclude that God considers knowing Him of utmost importance!
Step One to Knowing God
More than anything else God wants us to know Him in a personal way—to have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
So the first step to knowing God is to enter into a personal relationship with Him.
- admit that you’re a sinner
- believe that Jesus died on the cross for you
- repent of your sin
- receive Jesus Christ into your life
Here’s a simple prayer:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I admit I’m a sinner. I believe You died on the cross for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and invite you into my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer and accepted Christ today, I’d love to hear from you!
The Next Step
I took the first step toward knowing God at an early age. But here’s the thing. I’m still getting to know God. Even after decades as a faithful Christ follower, I recognize that I don’t know everything there is to know, everything I want to know about God.
One of the main ways I know this is by reading the Bible.
Just this morning while reading Ezekiel 29-30, the phrase “then they will know that I am the Lord” jumped off the page at me. Here’s what I learned and want to share with you today.
What God wants most from us is to know Him personally and then to keep getting to know Him.
Everything He does is with that purpose in mind.
Knowing Him isn’t the only thing He wants from us but it is the all-important starting point.
Knowing Him is the beginning of everything good in our life.
Seeing the Unseen God
Each time they faced opposition from other nations God’s chosen people had a habit of forming an alliance with Egypt. And each time Egypt let them down.
Ezekiel proclaims his message as an exile in Babylon with the Israelites.
But know this:
God didn’t exile the Israelites primarily to punish them. God never has been nor is He now interested in punishment for punishment’s sake. Rather, He intended the punishment or judgment in Ezekiel’s day as a means to an end—to bring His people to a state of repentance and humility before the one true God.
—Charles R. Swindoll
God spoke to His people even as they were living far away from Jerusalem. He didn’t want to remain vague or far off to them. He wanted his people to know him. He wants us to know Him, too.
What Hinders Us From Knowing God?
So much can hinder us from knowing God but often the root cause is pride. God often warns us about pride in His Word.
In Ezekiel 25-32 the downfall of Israel’s neighbors is pronounced followed each time with “then they will know that I am the Lord.” Repentance and humble dependence are what God has always wanted from us.
As I read Ezekiel 29-30 this morning and saw the sins of Pharoah and the Egyptians listed, I saw three specific ways pride hinders us from knowing God. Here’s what I learned.
1. We Take Ownership
As King of Egypt Pharoah acted as if he owned everything.
“The Nile is mine; I made it for myself.” Ezekiel 29:3
What are you taking ownership of today? Your business, children, home, money, or time?
Remember, everything belongs to God!
Pride will cause us to live as if we are the ruler of our kingdom (life) and will hinder us from knowing and living in complete dependence on God.
2. We Act Complacent.
Ezekiel 30 is a lament for Egypt. Judgment for sin is near but she is complacent.
In what ways are you acting complacent today? Are you in the habit of disobedience?
When we act complacent we live as if sin has no consequences. But to know God is to live as believers, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, confident that the price for our sin has been paid by the blood of Christ.
We’ve been made free to live and love in the light of Christ, pursuing holiness, resisting complacency.
3. We Believe We’re Self-Sufficient
“Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt; there her proud strength will come to an end.” Ezekiel 30:18
Egypt thought she was invincible. But there is no one like our God. Nothing can stand against Him.
And we can’t stand without Him.
How are you depending on your proud strength? In what way might you be depending on your skills, education, connections, or finances instead of God?
Everything as Nothing
Look at your life. Consider all the events and challenges of the past year, month, and week and know this:
God’s primary purpose is always to bring His people to a state of repentance and humility before the one true God.
Total dependence is what God wants from you and me.
The Apostle Paul counted everything as nothing compared to knowing Christ. May it be so for you and me.
and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.… Philippians 3:9-11